Baby Joshua is doing well after heart surgery

The Abbotsford baby had the life-saving procedure done on Wednesday, Sept. 10 and was sent home six days later

Joshua Taekema Joshua Taekema is all smiles in the days after his heart surgery

Joshua Taekema Joshua Taekema is all smiles in the days after his heart surgery

An Abbotsford baby who had open heart surgery a week ago recovered so well that he was sent home from hospital just six days after the procedure.

Joshua Taekema, who turns one year old on Oct. 18, had surgery on Sept. 10 at BC Children’s Hospital to repair defects caused by a heart condition known as tetralogy of fallot.

He was scheduled to return home yesterday (Tuesday). Even his doctors were astounded at Joshua’s quick recovery, said dad Andrew Taekema.

“They’re more than amazed. They’re almost dumbfounded at how well he’s done with everything.”

Joshua was born with his heart turned in his chest so that it faces the left side of his torso and with an aorta that lies over the pulmonary valve, instead of under it.

This resulted in oxygen-poor blood flowing from the heart and to the rest of his body, causing shortness of breath, difficulty in gaining weight, weakness, fatigue and “tet spells” in which his skin turned blue.

Without surgery, the condition is fatal.

Andrew said that, during the operation, it was discovered there was no tissue between the chambers in the bottom portion of Joshua’s heart. That area was “patched,” and the aorta was adjusted into the correct spot.

Several hours later, Andrew and his partner, Rachel Gammon, were able to visit their baby.

“ ‘He’s pink!’ That’s the first thing we said when he came out of surgery,” Andrew said.

The skin tone was a good sign that Joshua’s heart was working better and circulating “good” oxygen through his body.

He also was quickly removed from his breathing tube.

Joshua was doing so well that he was initially slated to be released on Sunday, but a drop in his oxygen levels had to be addressed, delaying his exit until Tuesday.

Andrew said the biggest difference he and Rachel have noticed in Joshua since his surgery is a boost in his energy levels.

“During the last two days, he hasn’t had a nap,” Andrew said yesterday. “He’s doing really well, and we’re all in good spirits.”

Over the next few months, Joshua will be less immune to infections and illness, perhaps resulting in further hospital stays, and he will require further surgery, but his parents are looking forward to seeing him grow and develop alongside his five older siblings, and are thankful for the miracles of modern medicine.

“It’s amazing. It’s just amazing,” Andrew said.